If there is one place in your house that should be a stress-free sanctuary, it is the place where you sleep. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

If there is one place in your house that should be a stress-free sanctuary, it is the place where you sleep. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

If there is one place in your house that should be a stress-free sanctuary, it is the place where you sleep.  However, many of us have turned our bedrooms into multi-purpose areas that we use for a variety of activities.  Many of these activities and the environment they create can make it difficult for us to use this space for its most important job, to get a good night sleep.  If you are tossing and turning more often than you would like, take a quick look around your sleep space and use these tips for making sure your bedroom is a sleep-friendly space.

1.     Too Hot or Too Cold

One of the first things to consider is the temperature in your room, especially because it varies over the course of the year.  To get the best sleep, most experts agree that your room should be about 65 degrees at night.

2.     Don’t Underestimate Comfort

Many of us are sleeping on old mattresses under scratchy blankets with lumpy pillows.  This can have a very real impact on the quality and quantity of sleep you get at night.  If you don’t remember when you bought your mattress, there is a good chance it is time for a new one.  The same is doubly true for your pillows which have a much shorter lifespan that your mattress.  Investing in a new mattress, pillow, and/or bedding can make a real difference in the amount of sleep you get.

3.     Turn Off the Lights

In modern times, we seem to have lost sight of how important it is to sleep in the dark.  From external lights shining in through windows to televisions, night lights, and digital clocks, our bedrooms are much brighter than they should be.  If you can’t cut out these sleep-stealing light sources, it may be a good idea to try out a sleep mask.

4.     Eliminate Electronic Screens

Of all the bedroom boosting tips, this one is likely the hardest but if you are serious about sleep, it is also one of the most important.  While any kind of light can interfere with our sleep, the type of light that comes from electronic screens like televisions, laptops, tablets, and cell phones can actually trick our bodies into thinking it is daytime which interferes with hormonal signals our body needs to know it is bedtime.  Your best bet is to leave all these items outside the bedroom.

5.     Silence or Sound

While some people sleep best when their rooms are silent, others need a little sound in order to get a good night’s sleep.  But not all sound is created equal.  Leaving the television on isn’t the same as using a machine that produces white noise.  Since your brain is still active while you are sleeping, the sounds coming from the television can cause a variety of responses that interfere with sleep.  On the flip side, sleeping with a white noise machine or other ambient sound can actually make it easier to sleep through external sounds that might otherwise wake you up.